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Daniela Mitkova
Nikolina Georgieva
Nadejda Raycheva
Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency, Brussels
Researchers, Teachers, Policy Makers
Over 10 pages
Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has become an important driver of everyday life and economic activity. An majority of people today use a computer for a variety of purposes; for the younger generation especially, using a computer is a normal, everyday activity. The integration of computers into the sphere of education reflects these tendencies. Over the last 15 years, educators have become increasingly focused on bringing ICT into the classroom and using it for teaching purposes.
Thе report was prepared by Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency and draws primarily on national information collected by Eurydice from 31 European countries, Bulgaria included. The educational levels covered are primary education and general secondary education. The reference year for all the Eurydice indicators is the 2009/10 school year. Further data are provided through Eurostat indicators (Information society and National accounts statistics, 2010) and from the findings of the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study 2007 (TIMSS) and the Programme for International Student Assessment 2009 (PISA).

Chapter A of the report examines the extent to which access to computers and Internet connections are available, and how well these tools are used both by the general population and in households with children. This description sets the context for an in-depth look in chapter B into how ICT is used to develop key competences or skills, and digital skills in particular, in primary and secondary education. In chapter C, the various innovative teaching approaches recommended by central authorities are examined as is the use made of ICT applications to support innovative teaching particularly with respect to different subjects in the curriculum. The second section of this chapter focuses on approaches to assessing students’ ICT competences and on new methods of evaluation using electronic tools. Chapter D studies teachers' knowledge of, and attitudes towards ICT, which are important if they are to make effective use of the new technologies in education. The ICT skills and competences that teachers develop during their initial education as well during continuing professional development programmes are also considered.
Finally chapter E looks at the available ICT infrastructure in schools, and at the impact that a lack of computers, educational software or technical support staff may have. The effects of ICT on school organisation, collaboration with the business sector and communication with parents are also investigated.
The main findings of the report are formulated as follows:
• Information and communication technologies are part of our everyday life and underpin our children’s education;
• National policies for ICT in education exist in all European countries and usually cover the complete learning process;
• No great disparity between schools in availability of ICT equipment but a lack of educational software and support staff still affect the instruction;
• New transversal and digital competences are widely included in national curricula;
• ICT is widely promoted by central authorities as a tool for teaching and learning but large implementation gap remains
• ICT is often recommended for assessing competences but steering documents rarely indicate how it should be applied;
• Teachers usually acquire ICT teaching skills through their initial education but further professional development is less common;
• Information technologies are playing a central role in cooperation between schools and the community and to engage parents in the learning process.
Teaching staff are the key players in strengthening and fostering the new digital environment in schools. European Member States have recognised the importance of teacher education in this context. They have committed themselves in developing ICT skills during initial teacher education and to continue to encourage this through early career support and continuing professional development. This support enables teachers to make use of ICT in their teaching, in classroom management tasks, as well as in their personal professional development. However, although a positive trend can be observed in teachers' use of computers in class, their general motivation to use ICT, according to the report’s authors, remains an issue. Education systems need to adapt to help remedy this situation. As technology is constantly changing, teachers need regular support to keep up-to-date through relevant professional development programmes and materials. The report data show that:
•Digital literacy is taught mainly by specialist ICT teachers at secondary level but in approximately 50 % of countries it is also taught by other specialist teachers such as mathematics or science teachers;
•Around one third of all students in Europe attend schools where school heads report finding it difficult to fill teaching vacancies for ICT teachers;
•Although ICT is included in regulations on teacher education, practical ICT-related pedagogical skills are rarely addressed at central level.
•Teachers' participation rates in professional development on integrating ICT into the teaching process are higher for mathematics than for science, but they are particularly low for both subjects at primary level.
•In almost all countries, centrally promoted online resources exist to support teachers' use of ICT to deliver innovative teaching and learning opportunities in the classroom. Moreover, pedagogical support is generally available in Europe to help teachers with the practical implementation of ICT in the classroom.
Information and communication technologies provide a variety of tools that can open up new possibilities in the classroom. They can particularly help tailor the educational process to individual students' needs, and they can also provide learners with the crucial digital competences needed in our knowledge-based economy. The report analyses the evolution of ICT use in education and the changes it has brought about in national policies and practices concerning teaching methods, contents and evaluation processes. It examines the promotion of transversal as well as job-related key competences, and the role of ICT in this process. It also sheds light on the strategies used in countries to train and support teachers in the use of ICT.
This report provides an important set of indicators and invaluable insights that can support policymakers in their efforts to assess and enhance the impact of the use of ICT on learning

Comments about this Publication

Your comments are welcome

Date: 2013.05.07

Posted by Rose Lawlor (Ireland)

Message: Very comprehensive report that is presented in a very stimulating way – of course lots of graphics and bar charts.

The report looks at the data under five headings:

A Access to computers and Internet – both school and home
B How ICT is used
C Teaching approaches that are recommended
D Teachers knowledge and attitude
E Infrastructure in schools

Recent data on 18 to 24 year olds shows that nearly all young Europeans use computers and the internet - Bulgaria, Italy and Romania trail a little behind.
It is reckoned that schools should therefore be encouraged to develop a modern technological environment so that students would link their experiences at home with their academic lives.
Data from PISA 2009 shows that students use computers at home mostly for entertainment and rarely for school work

All European countries have national strategies to foster the use of ICT in education.

The European Commission in 2010 adopted a new Digital agenda and set challenges for the years to come. This includes providing public services electronically (eGovernment) media literacy (eLearning) and ultrafast broadband. 28 countries have adopted an ICT strategy devoted to education.

There is eLearning provided in the following areas: Foreign languages, digital competence, maths and science, learning to learn, social and civic competences, entrepreneurship and cultural awareness.

All countries list at least some of the following learning objectives in their steering documents for compulsory education: Creativity, Innovation, Critical thinking, Problem solving, Decision making, Communication, Collaboration, Research and Inquiry.
The learning objective least adopted is “the use of mobile devices”

ICT is taught as a separate subject in primary schools in the following countries: Czech Republic, Latvia, Poland, Slovakia, UK, Iceland and Turkey. At second level ICT is taught as a separate subject in nearly every education system. The exceptions are Denmark, Ireland, The Netherlands, Finland and Sweden where ICT is used as a general tool in all subjects

Safe online behaviour and privacy issues are themes in all countries that have online safety in the curriculum. Students are taught not to reveal any personal information including their name, address, their school telephone numbers etc. In some course the students learn how companies gather information about individuals and how the information may be used in ways individuals don’t expect or agree to.

Downloading and copyright issues are also often included in this education.
Children are always advised to report cyberbullying

ICT is not taught by specialist ICT teachers in only a few countries – Ireland, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden, Lichenstein and Norway. In these countries it is tauhgt by specialist teachers in other subjects.
An international survey has shown that 29% of students had school heads who reported difficulty in filling teaching vacancies for ICT teachers.

In Europe, centrally promoted online resources are available to teachers to support them using ICT for innovative teaching and learning in the classroom. Most countries have online forums, blogs or similar networking sites that facilitate collaboration, sharing of experiences and exchange of material between teachers.

There is a range of indicators used to measure progress in provision of ICT.
In 21 of the education systems ensuring a sufficient number of computers per school is a key objective. In the majority of systems this objective is used in conjunction with a second indicator which is the number of students per computer.
A third of schools have a school website. The information on such sites varies considerably.

In most European schools at least 50% of students are in schools where there is one computer between two students.
In 2009 in almost all countries at least 75% of students were studying in schools where they were sharing a computer with no more than four other classmates.


Even if there is an adequate number of computers available in a school, the procedures that are in place to book a computer room, the ways computers are shared between teachers/disciplines, where the computers are situated in a school will all affect whether teachers manage to use them or not.

Studies have shown that one of the major barriers to teachers using ICT is lack of technical support. Ineffectiveness of technical assistance that teachers have to deal frequently with equipment-related problems that might discourage them from using these tools in their teaching.

Communication between schools and parents is an important element of school management. ICT is used more and more in schools today to communicate general school activities but also to keep parents informed of discipline issues. This is believed to help encourage learning beyond the classroom.

National Reports on successful experiences to promote lifelong learning for chemistry The national reports on chemistry successful experiences to promote lifelong learning for chemistry are now available on the related section of the project portal. The reports presents examples of successful experiences in the partner countries and the results of testing of ICT resources with science teachers.